The Grand Rapids Community College softball team picked up a pair of 8-0 wins via the mercy rule against the Ancilla College Chargers on Saturday afternoon, including a game one no-hitter from pitcher Alexa Abrahamson at Belknap Park.
Abrahamson dominated Chargers’ hitters from the start getting three strikeouts in the first inning. The only Charger to reach base did so via a dropped third strike that catcher Stephanie Kruskie couldn’t find underneath her.
Abrahamson talked about her performance after the game, giving credit to her catcher and the way her defense played behind her. She also addressed the pitch that was working for her all game long.
“Definitely the screwball for sure,” Abramson said. “Steph (Kruskie) called a really good game behind the plate, too. (The defense was) there 100 percent, that was so nice. They just helped build momentum and it was just great.”
Raiders’ head coach Brian Skudre talked about Abramson’s ability to put the ball in different locations throughout the game which helped keep the Chargers’ bats cold.
“She did a phenomenal job moving the ball around,” Skudre said. “Hitting her spots on the pitches, keeping them off balance at the plate and they really didn’t hit anything too hard off her. She’s been working really hard in practice on location and you could see that this week.”
The Raiders’ pitching and defense weren’t the only facets of their game that showed up on Saturday. The Raiders crushed the Chargers’ pitching starting with an Andi Chipman leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Kruskie hit an RBI single to bring Chipman in giving the Raiders their first run of the game.
The Raiders ended up having all nine batters get an at-bat in the first inning and ended scoring five runs. Chipman once again led off the second inning this time hitting a leadoff single. Kruskie also singled. Aaron Kietzman hit an RBI double to bring Kruskie in after Chipman was thrown out at second, giving the Raiders a 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Chipman collected her third hit of the day with a two-RBI double, extending the lead to 8-0. Abrahamson came out in the top of the fifth and had a one-two-three inning to give the Raiders the 8-0 victory and secure her no-hitter.
Skudre decided to go with Brooke Klein on the mound for game two and in the top of the first, she ran into some trouble. She loaded the bases with only one out, but strong play from her defensed helped her get out of the bases-loaded jam unscathed.
The Raiders’ bats picked up right where they left off. Chipman got on base after an error by the Chargers’ first baseman. Chipman stole second and on the next pitch, Kietzman hit an RBI single to bring Chipman in. The Raiders ended up plating two more runs in the inning to take an early 3-0 lead after one. In the bottom of the third, Kate Stearns hit a leadoff double and would later score on another error by the Chargers. Makenzie Larsen and Chipman both scored in the inning off a Kruskie ground ball to short and a throwing error by the first baseman making it 6-0 Raiders.
In the bottom of the fourth, it was deja vu from game one as the Raiders had Chipman score on a Sierra Stoepker triple and a Kietzman RBI sacrifice fly that brought Stoepker home giving the Raiders an 8-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Skudre brought in Taylor Goorhouse to close the door. She recorded three outs and secured the second 8-0 win of the day.
Chipman led the charge for the Raiders offensively as she went 5-for-6 on the day and reached base all six times. She explained why the team had such a strong day in all facets of the game.
“Everyone was just excited to be here,” Chipman said. “There was communication all around, the focus was there for two straight games, it was awesome. The last couple games, we’ve been trying to focus on positives a lot. We started a new thing where before the game, everyone says one good thing that happened (in the first game) that day, and I think that just mentally gets you ready.”
The Raiders have won four straight games and improved to .500 in conference play for the first time this season. Skudre said the team needs to have faith in their ability and if they can do that, they can keep carrying the current momentum that they have.
“They just gotta believe,” Skudre said. “A lot of it right now, this part of the season, it’s mental stuff because you kind of gotta get over the fatigue that you have from playing so many games. But as long as they keep working on the mental part of the game, it’s gonna be hard to stop us.”
The Raiders are now 10-10 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference. They’ll look to keep things rolling in their next home game when they welcome the Cornerstone University Junior Varsity team on Friday, April 26 for a 5 p.m. game at Belknap Park in Grand Rapids.